LET'S END THE BARBARITY AND THE IMPUNITY AGAINST OUR PEOPLE!
Friday, July 30, 2010
LET'S END THE BARBARITY AND THE IMPUNITY AGAINST OUR PEOPLE!
!PONGAMOS UN ALTO A LA BARBARIE Y A LA IMPUNIDAD CONTRA NUESTRO PUEBLO!. MARIO DIAZ. "EL LIBERTADOR"
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tell the Organization of American States: NO to re-admission of Honduras's repressive coup-continuing regime
Please send the below letter or one of your own to the following email addresses of the different representatives to the OAS urging them NOT to re-admit Honduras while human rights violations continue:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Missiondebolivia@gmail.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Esteemed Representatives to the Organization of American States:
As a member of the international community gravely concerned with the ongoing impunity and human rights violations in Honduras, I urge the Organization of American States NOT to re-instate Honduras's membership to the OAS. Such a decision would affect both the Hondurans who continue to live under a regime of terror and repression as well as the rest of the hemisphere whose peoples will be impacted by the precedents set in Honduras.
Conditions have clearly not improved in Honduras, where repression, persecution and systematic human rights abuses against Resistance leaders, popular movement leaders, journalists, judges, human rights activists, independent media, or anyone critical of the coup, have been documented by several independent and international human rights organizations and the OAS Inter American Human Rights Commission has made it clear through its many reports. During Lobo´s administration, more than 10 journalists have been assassinated, as have many more members of the Resistance.
But the OAS Secretary General has turned a blind eye to this reality and has been pushing, with the help of the U.S. and regional allies, for a rushed readmission of Honduras. Furthermore, on July 20th, 2010 SICA Presidential Summit in San Salvador, the Presidents of Central America, with the exception of President Ortega of Nicaragua, readmitted Honduras to the sub-regional organization (against its own rules, which specify the decision must be unanimous) and cynically praised Mr. Lobo’s success in restoring democracy, the rule of law and safeguarding human rights, even if repression, violence and human rights abuses are still being documented.
Confronted by this imminent and false imposition, that would greatly damage the struggle for democracy in Honduras by whitewashing the coup and strengthening the current regime of impunity, as a member of the international community I support the demands of the National Front of Popular Resistance:
1) That the OAS takes the National Popular Resistance Front and its position into account before readmitting Honduras.
2) That the OAS acknowledges the ongoing human rights abuses and systematic repression and persecution that people are subjected to in Honduras, as reports of IAHC, UN and several other human rights organizations have documented.
3) That the OAS helps to dismantle the coup-monger’s total control of Honduran institutions and acknowledges that Honduras is still controlled by the same people who organized and held the coup.
4) That the OAS acknowledge that the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the majority of the judicial and executive branches of government are still controlled by the coup-mongers and should be fully reformed.
5) That the OAS ensures that Ex President Zelaya, who has been appointed as Coordinator of the FNRP and is still in exile may return safely and with full rights.
6) That the OAS ensures that persecution against the Resistance members, judges critical of the coup and the former members of Ex President Zelaya’s cabinet stops immediately.
7) That the OAS acknowledges that Mr. Lobo has himself declared that a coup took place on the 28th of June, 2009 and thus the only way to reestablish constitutional democracy in Honduras is through a National Constitutional Assembly.
8) That the OAS supports the return of democracy and safeguards human rights in Honduras, fighting the current state of impunity and absence of justice and holding the coup-mongers accountable for their crimes against the Honduran people.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In the face of imperialist invasion, insurrection and defense of our peoples and sovereignties!
Today is a moment of hegemonic reconfiguration of imperialism in our continent, due to its profound crisis, which it tries to resolve at any cost, and in which like a wounded beast it bears its claws invading through its projects of annexation, colonialism and plunder with coup d'etats, military bases, occupation troops, the fourth fleet, Plan Mérida, ASPAN, transnationalization, monopolization, cultural invasion and counter-revolutionary plans.
As people born from the blood of Lempira and in permanent resistance, we raise our voices together with other sisters and brothers who today with just indignation repudiate the occupation of their territories and countries by these forces of death.
In Honduras, also invaded by the U.S. army, where where some of the most important bases of the region are, such as Soto Cano in Palmerola, in May of this year under the current regime, which is the continuity of the coup d'etat, a second military base was inaugurated in the indigenous Miskito community in Barra de Karataska, and as if that wasn't enough they are hurrying to occupy the island of Guanaja, an insular municipality of the Bahía Islands in the Honduran Caribbean, threatening to reactivate ex-military bases that functioned during the "cold war" in the Lenca region and other zones. All of this under the context of the coup d'etat, extention of the "democratic security" that is applied in Colombia, and the systematic repression against the Honduran people.
We energetically condemn this new and old imperialist maneuver, with which they expect to detain the process of emancipation and defense of territories, sovereignty, richness, dignity and life itself that escapes it in our great motherland, America, putting under grave threat our sister people of Costa Rica with an occupation without precedent, which threatens Venezuela, Cuba, Haití, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and other nations of the Southern Cone.
¡Ante la invasión imperialista, insurrección y defensa de nuestros pueblos y soberanías!
Friday, July 9, 2010
The Garífuna have been in resistance since the founding of their community when they resisted the slave trade as maroons and then resisted domination by multiple colonial empires. Since founding their community in Honduras, the Garífuna have been perpetually facing a struggle to survive. It is no wonder, then that they have played a major part in the resistance against the coup d'etat, sharing lessons gained over centuries of resistance with the rest of the movement. The strongest and most grassroots organization amongst the Honduran Garífuna, the National Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans (OFRANEH), has been present in the resistance since the first day.
When the delegation arrived at the OFRANEH office in La Ceiba the office was full of young people attending an OFRANEH workshop on community radio, the workshops included technical practice and training and workshops on thinking about oppression based on race, class and gender. It was a lively and enthusiastic atmosphere in which some of the young radio producers interviewed members of the delegation.
Miriam and Alfredo explained that the Garifuna community has been very affected by the coup because the coup-makers have economic interests in the areas where the Garifuna live. Like many other Hondurans fighting for the right to land, they are in a conflict with Honduran oligarch Miguel Facussé in Vallecito. “He feels that he is the owner of all Honduras and he is a part of the groups that really has control in this country,” explains Miriam.
The groups in power have been strengthened by the coup and have more repressive forces. Military and security people are now in very important positions at the national level much more than before. This is one way that they are strengthening their power.
Miriam talked about how the Garífuna suffer because they live in a strategic zone on the beach. “Previously it was decided that tourism would be key for the country’s economy - a mistaken idea because we do not have the necessary conditions for developing that kind of tourism. The Garifuna live on the beach and our communities are in permanent resistance because government policies protect foreign and international corporate investments. Living in that area is a privilege but also a challenge,” she explained
There is a mega tourism project being developed in Tela that will include a golf course, although not even Costa Rica has been able to make that kind of tourism work. The infrastructure for the project is almost done. The Garifuna community of Barra Vieja with its 117 families is the thorn in the foot of the project. The governmental tourism agency (IHT) can’t negotiate a solution and it seems that there will be a violent eviction of the community. In this case when Zelaya was president he could not oppose the developers. We sent him many letters advising him of the problem throughout the 2 years of attempted negociations. This project would cause the complete disappearance of Barro Viejo.
Other problems faced are the presence of narcotics traffic in the region and climate change that is bringing more storms and damage that also force people to leave their communities.
“Because of the problem of impunity we have gone to the human rights organizations to make our problems visible and to bring international organizations to come to our zone of the country to observe the situation,” she explained. "We are under surveillance because of our participation in the resistance and because our positions challenge the interests of the elite powers in the country.”
For more than 2 months after the coup OFRANEH mobilized to Tegucigalpa to participate in the resistance. “This wasn’t about defending Mel Zelaya - he was a person who in the moment played an important role because he consulted with organizations like OFRANEH about the realities that affect us. The organization went to Tegucigalpa for the restitution of Zelaya, out of respect for constitutionality, and for a participative democracy not just representative,” explains Miriam. Miriam noted that some people call OFRANEH Zelayista but the Garifuna really benefited the least from Zelaya. Zelaya's enemies are even more our enemies because we were in resistance before and permanently. It was OFRANEH together with the indigenous organization COPINH who presented the proposal for reform of the constitution. The national constitutional assembly is important so the people can say what are their priorities. The Garifuna people remain committed to the struggle for a popular constitutional assembly.
This challenge of the coup for OFRANEH is a project that includes everyone and all strategies for struggle. “We are especially focusing on two key sectors: women and youth. Women pass our culture and identity to the youth. If women are not educated and prepared they can’t do that. Women are also the ones resisting in the community and the role of youth is basic.”
OFRANEH also has communication media projects and works with the National Front of Popular Resistance on communication projects because the coup demonstrated the fundamental role of the press, which Miraim explains, “is called the fourth pillar of power but really it is the first because it actually creates opinion.” OFRANEH sees the importance of the communication media and radio not only for culture but also for analysis, struggle and answers to the questions of struggle.
They are working with the Frente in the communication project to create media. Alberto noted that in Tegucigalpa some people have the idea to compete directly with the big coup media which consumes a lot of resources but that OFRANEH believes that the movement has to create its own media. The Frente is moving forward with popular communication projects such as popular radios, for example in Santa Barabara the Federation of Patronatos of the West has a project. Radio Progreso is participating also. Part of the constitutional reform proposal has been the creation of a legal framework to protect the rights to frequencies for community radio and television.
Over time OFRANEH's strategy within the resistance has changed. OFRANEH went to Tegucigalpa to join the people’s resistance and events happened as they happened. As a social movement OFRANEH and others have to define a strategy to live under a regime that is much more dangerous that previously. OFRANEH believes that it is important and fundamental in this moment for debate of all the people to open up about what it means to live in a democracy; to create a permanent process of education, preparation and organization; to strengthen the process of alliances with other forces not only of the Garifuna and indigenous peoples but with other social sections. “This a way to strengthen the struggle so that no one is alone and the problem of one sector is all a problem for all of us.” An example of the possibilities is the campesinos in MUCA and Zacate Grande where Miguel Facusse is defying the agreements reached. He says that the government signed the agreements not him so he won’t respect them. Facussé is the point in common for Colon, Zacate Grande, el Vallecito, etc.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The gates open and the committee guarding the entrance allows the delegation to enter. As the delegation walks towards the encampment, the MUCA activist accompanying it tells one of the men resting in the shade to assemble a few people to explain the situation. Within minutes, dozens of people emerge, with more and more joining them, eager to tell the story of this ongoing confrontation between some of Honduras's poorest and one of its richest. Just ten days ago, they explain, one of their young people, a boy of just 17 years old, Oscar Yovani Ramírez, was captured, tortured and brutally killed. As insult to injury, the police who came to pick up his body captured and tortured five more members of MUCA.
"We are clear that there is no difference between Miguel Facussé's private guards, the police and the army. They are the same," explains one MUCA member.
The struggle in Aguán dates back at least 15 years to when former President Callejas passed the Law of Agricultural Modernization, known to many campesinos as the "Law of Agricultural Liquidation." That law allowed lands previously designated for agrarian reform to be sold off to large land-owners such as Facussé. In 2005, peasants displaced from the area along the Aguán river in Colón along with other landless peasants who joined with them organized themselves into MUCA and began pressuring the government to turn the land back over to the landless peasants. For years they carried out actions ranging from hunger strikes to mass marches to highway take-overs. Under the Zelaya administration they finally found an ally in the government and on June 12th, exactly two weeks before President Zelaya was kidnapped and exiled by the military, they signed an agreement to get title to the lands for work in agricultural cooperatives. Needless to say, the military-coup regime did not uphold the agreement made under Zelaya.
Members of MUCA immediately joined the resistance and by December decided to take back the lands in question themselves. From December through April the over 3,000 families of MUCA set up camp on the lands and began cultivating them, amidst ongoing confrontations with the military, the police and the private guards of Miguel Facussé. In April tension reached a precipice as a massive military buildup in the region raised fears internationally of a massacre and bloody eviction. With all eyes turned on Aguán and the coup-continuing Lobo regime desperately striving to gain international recognition and legitimacy, the government finally decided to concede. Negotiations yielded an agreement giving most of the land in question to MUCA members that was elaborated on April 13th and approved by a vote of all MUCA members on April 17th.
But the threats, intimidations, murders and tortures have continued. While MUCA has followed all the provisions of the agreement, it is still waiting on the government to turn over 3,000 uncultivated hectares of land and it is still waiting to see when the aggression and human rights violations will cease.
Pride and resilience ring in the voices that rise from that land despite the ongoing repression. It is the ultimate story of David vs. Goliath. It is a struggle not just over a piece of land, but for the re-founding of a country where just one year ago the oligarchy and its backers in the U.S. government thought they had finally stopped the rising tide of popular struggle in Latin America. In the eyes of the MUCA members guarding the entrance of these lands and in the playful laughs of the hundreds of children running around them however, one can see and hear that not even a military coup can crush the spirits of an awakened people.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Report from Ciriboya and Vallecito: Garífuna hospital + land reclamation are seeds for a vision of a new Honduras and new world
One of the areas where the hospital hopes to set up a satellite clinic is a nearby land reclamation that helps grow food for the surrounding Garífuna community. The Garifuna people in Honduras live on the Atlantic coast on lands that by Honduran and international law should be protected as indigenous ancestral lands, but their communities and their land have long been in the sights of wealthy landowners and developers who want control of the extremely beautiful beach and coastal areas. On July 2 the delegation visited the Garifuna agricultural cooperatives in the Vallecito area of Colon. The cooperatives are on lands reclaimed by the Garifuna in 1995. There are 6 agricultural coops working the land growing a variety of crops including yucca, coconuts, bananas and other foods. The delegation visited one of the coops, Empresa Industrial Coco. That coop grows bananas and coconuts and has a coco processing plant on site. The members talked about their experiences and plans for their project as well as the threats to their lands.
Military official in unmarked vehicle follows human rights observers during visit to sites of land conflicts with Honduran oligarch Miguel Facussé
After visiting Peasant Movement of Aguán political prisoner Jose Isabel Morales just outside Ceiba, the La Voz de los de Abajo human rights solidarity delegation was stopped at a police checkpoint and asked to turn over everyone's passports so the police could make a list of everybody in the van. The delegation was stopped again shortly at another checkpoint where the police officers already had the license plate number of the van the delegation was traveling in written down.
After leaving that checkpoint the driver noticed a grey Toyota pickup with license plate PBJ3441 following the delegation. The truck continued following the delegation's van even after the driver pulled over to test if the truck was indeed following. The truck followed all the way to the hotel the delegation stayed at in Trujillo, which it circled three times while the delegation unloaded its luggage.
The same truck continued to follow the next day as the delegation made its way to resistance community Guadalupe Carney and then on towards the land occupations of the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA).
When the delegation saw the truck waiting at the turnoff towards the MUCA land occupation, its van pulled over, unloaded and took pictures of the truck and the person who had been seen driving it (who did not answer when asked if anyone knew who the driver was). The photos of the driver later revealed an insignia on his uniform for the “School of Application for Officials,” a tactical training school of the Honduran army.
In the decade since the establishment of the Guadalupe Carney community on the former site of a U.S. military base famous as the site for torture, detention and killing of Honduran activists in the 1980's, there has been ongoing threats, intimidation and repression against the campesinos who live there by both the hired guns of Honduran oligarch and land-owner Miguel Facussé as well as by the Honduran army and police. This situation has been made even worse in the aftermath of the June 28th, 2009 military coup d'etat, carried out by U.S.-trained general Romeo Vásquez Velásquez at the behest of oligarchs such as Facussé and their allies in the U.S. government and amongst transnational corporations. Facussé is also facing land conflicts at the nearby land occupation of the United Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA) as well as from the Garífuna people who have re-taken ancestral lands he had usurped in the region of Vallecito, Aguán. All three were sites visited by the La Voz de los de Abajo Human Rights delegation. The fact that a military officer in an un-marked car was sent to follow and intimidate the delegation during its visits to areas where Facussé's people have been killing and intimidating campesinos is clear evidence of the complicity between the Honduran military, police and large land-owners such as Facussé in the ongoing Human Rights violations in Honduras. It is further worth pointing out that Facussé is a long-time friend of many U.S. officials and that the Honduran army has received and continues to receive extensive training and aid from the U.S. government.